Your Winning Lottery Numbers

Our state, while not the last, is one of the latest to enter the Lottery gaming system to “support” education.  I have been asked over the years whether or not I would receive the tithe from a lottery winner if it was presented.  What do you think?



We have been on a journey through scripture and we find ourselves at the base of Mt. Sinai.  Moses has received the basic law on the tablets.  God watched as the tabernacle was constructed.  He came and filled it with His presence.  One day Moses was passing by…

18 “Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. “If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, 19 it will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. 20 Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf.

Leviticus 22:18-20

God begins to instruct Moses on what Aaron is to accept or not accept concerning the offerings for sacrifice.  In a culture where cattle was the wealth system we begin to appreciate the giving of an unblemished animal for sacrifice.  Aaron receives explicit instructions that anything less than unblemished and pure was not worthy as an offering.  If the bull had a limp it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not sound in his stride it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not square in his stance it was not acceptable.  If the bull was weak in his front end it was not acceptable.  If the bull is without proper muscle and power it was not acceptable.  If the bull was not  complete in growth, leanness and muscularity it was not acceptable.  God demanded a PERFECT bull if it was going to be a substitute for my sins.  Anything short of this was not considered worthy as an offering to God.  Cattle was a part of the wealth system of the time and culture.  In short, bulls were money.  With this in mind, any “money” that was not pure and undefiled was not accepted as an offering to God.

Let’s return to our original question. Would lottery winnings be considered unworthy as an offering to the Lord?  It would seem that according to Leviticus these winnings would be unworthy.  Does Jesus make any adjustments?  Does the New Testament make any reference as to what can be offered to God?  When Jesus died he completed the requirements “once-for-all” in the sight of God.  The sacrificial system was finished.  Faith in the person and activity of Jesus was now established.

Do you believe that these winnings are acquired in an unworthy manner?  If so, does this make the tithe from these winnings unworthy?  Some would say, “The Devil has had it long enough.”  Another argument would be that if good can be done with this it should be.  If it can further the Kingdom, then it should be used.  What do you think?  Our answer presents a few problems.  If we believe that the offering, in this scenario, is unworthy then it should not be receive d.  To refuse such offerings requires a deeper faith that God will provide for the needs.  Your capital campaign fundraising committee suddenly has restrictions on acceptable income.  In these moments our knees knock and our faith wavers.  Consider the math.  The 8 million dollar lottery winner will pay half to gaming taxes leaving 4 million.  Let us reduce this by half again for capital gains and other issues.  The winner still has 2 million.  The offering from this is $200,000.  Who of us could not use this “wisely” and with “Kingdom intentions”?

If we receive this offering then we must view Christ’s death on the cross as closing the sacrificial system.  If Jesus is the once-for-all sacrifice then he has provided for every person’s need for atonement and relation potential with God.  In this way, Leviticus becomes educational as to the reason for Christ’s death rather than a model for what we are to do today.  Therefore, receive that $200,000 and finish that remodel or new construction in name of Jesus.

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